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Day May 21, 2013

UPDF has a structure but we should really focus also on policy and statecraft issues

Kazini’s status: Have you heard of any former Army Commander in Africa being taken to prison for stealing a few shillings? Kazini, Major General, S.3 dropout. Otamuweka wapi? Tanzanian retired generals are diplomats, regional governors,etc. Could you trust Kazini with your herd of goats? How did such an individual like Kazini become the embodiment of the values of a very important national institution? I am told he still had some cases to answer for petty thieving. You know, when he was in Nigeria for senior command training, those officers there always wondered how he became a general. When they went out to look for ladies, Kazini would go in for those that befitted Nigerian Corporals! When he went to Ghana for a staff course, he nad a runin with an instructor. He was thrown off the course, escorted back to Uganda by the Ghanaian Military Police paka Entebbe , then they heard he was Chief of Staff, then Army Commander! Did they laugh or cry?

And with Kazini, when you talk to the average UPDF soldier, he will tell that if all he had left in his rifle were only two rounds of ammunition, and he found Kazini, Kony and Odhiambo in a dark corner, he would shoot Kazini twice in the head………

General Kazini….two words that are a heart-rending oxymoron!

Anyway as I said, ever since 1979, Uganda has tended to lean towards Tanzania in the manner of organising the military…for obvious reasons. Even subsequently when you did away with NRA, you opted for UPDF…mirroring TPDF. To appreciate the Uganda military arrangements, look at TPDF.

And by the way, the Tanzanians (and anybody else) would tell you that the Kenyan system is the one that is confused. Kenya lacks the conceptual grasp between ‘Command’ matters, i.e., everything to do with the general directing of operational matters (the teeth) and ‘Staff’ matters i.e., everything to do with directing support matters (the tail). The Joint Chief of staff in Tanzania is actually called the Chief of General Staff…he is in charge of Staff Officers that support the commanders. Kenyans call their biggest commander a ‘chief of staffs’ which is really funny….like referring to a headmaster as a head prefect. With the Tanzanians, the Chief of Staff is of a higher rank than the respective service commanders, making him the third most senior. The Tanzanians are also silent about the chiefs of staff of the respective services.

UPDF has a structure, Yes it does as President Museveni being the Commander-in-Chief, Gen Aronda Nyakayirima as the Chief of Defence Forces, Lt Gen I Koreta as the Deputy Chief of Defence Forces, Lt Gen Katumba Wamala is the Commander Land Forces, Brig Lusoke as the Joint Chief of Staff, Brig Angina Chief of Staff and other follow

There is the link to the Uganda MOD where the details of the UPDF can be found. The information appears to be in the public domain: Link:

The link for the Army, which you Ugandans have elected to call the Land Forces is:

The link for the Airforce is:

The link for the Marines is:

Of course Uganda is a land-locked country, so reference to ‘Marines’ is a misnomer. Our geography has nothing to do with the sea. May they should have referred to ‘Amphibious’ or ‘Lake-borne’

Note that, in terms of doctrine, whether organisational or tactical, Uganda has borrowed from Tanzania . Even when you look at Kenya , we need to be clear about the structure. The heads of the services (Army, Airforce, Navy) are respectively called Commanders, they are all at the same level, falling directly under the CGS–>VCGS.

In Uganda , instead of ‘General Staff’ you refer to Defence Forces. Gen Aronda is the CDF (equiv of CGS) and Gen Koreta is the Deputy CDF (equiv of VCGS). Gen. Koreta is not the Chief of Staff of the Army as you indicate. The army has its own command structure as a service with Gen Katumba as the commander. The same applies with the Airforce where there is a commander. Each of the Services has its chief of staff. The Joint Chief of Staff, Brig. Rusoke oversees the chiefs of staff of the services, and not the service commanders. The service commanders are answerable to the CDF through the Deputy CDF, just like in Kenya .

Gen Koreta, the Deputy CDF is senior to the respective service commanders (Katumab for the Army, Owoyesigire for the Ariforce)….no contradiction there.

Whether Kenya mentions its chiefs of staffs or not is a matter of preference but I am sure they do exist there too and operate in a similar manner. I think all you Ugandans have not done is to draw an organogram like Kenya has done.

Note that, for Kenya you refer to the Army Commander as the third highest ranking but that is not the case. All service commanders are at the same level…they are peers (see this link:

But even, all this debate about structure and personalities really takes us into the weeds: bottom line, it is trivial in regard the defence and security of Uganda .

But the question of Uganda ‘s institutional realities: Institutions are a mirror image of the societies that they service. How institutions function (and malfunction) is a culmination of historical factors, and a distillate of political realities. It may be a bit unrealistic for us to take the Kenyan arrangement as the norm for all time and all places. One may ask for example, why is it that following the 1964 mutiny of the East African militaries, did Mr Nyerere disarm, lock up and finally disband the Tanganyika Rifles completely, then Mr Kenyatta did the same but not as comprehensively yet Mr Obote decided to honour all the demands of the mutineers, increased their salaries, gave them promotions; dismissed the ringleaders and reinstated them half an hour later? Part of what we see today has roots right there in our history.

How many civil wars has Kenya or Tanzania had? Do those countries have the equivalent of Buganda , as an ‘indigestible element’ in national life, to use Huntington ‘s words in his ‘Political Order in Changing Societies’? How many times since 1964 has the Kenyan military been disbanded; and how about Uganda ? How many rebel groups has Kenya had? Uganda …anything up to thirty. Co-opting all those for the sake of short term harmony has always been at the expense of professionalism. The Katebe ‘institution’ is an embodiment of some for those skeletons in the closet of our political history.

At UAH, we should really focus also on policy and statecraft issues. This is where the future of the country can best be thought about instead of spending alot of time on recrimination, defensiveness and making comical promises. I will send you the country’s defence policy and the white paper on defence… is in such areas that incumbents should be put to task for the good of the country, not just hurling insults at them like we like to do here at UAH.

L/Cpl (rtd) Otto Patrick

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